Steak dinner with friends

Last night we met up with our other foodie friends who also loves to cook. They recently bought a Kamado BBQ charcoal grill and have been looking for every opportunity to use it. They kindly invited us over for dinner, having bought some prime ribs and T-bone steak from McEwan’s grocery store, along with some bone marrow.

Knowing our friends would be supplying the mains, we stopped by J town in the morning to pick up some groceries that we felt would be great on the grill. It just so happened that we stumbled across an old man selling fresh Japanese vegetables that morning and decided to pick some up for the BBQ.

Myoga (Japanese ginger), Japanese green peppers, Shishito peppers, tomatoes, White Kabocha

Of all the vegetables we bought, we only ended up grilling the Shishito peppers and the tomatoes. If you haven’t had charcoal grilled tomatoes before, you must! It tastes amazing! As for the Shishito peppers (the skinny long ones), did you know approximately 1 in every 10 peppers is spicy? This can be a fun game to play with your friends to see who gets lucky 😉

For dinner, we also made our popular green lettuce salad with roasted tomato vinaigrette. We also added in some fresh pork belly (Bacon), toasted some baguette as crutons, and sliced up some radishes and cucumber for garnish.

Our friends also bought a bunch of bone marrow for approximately $4 each which isn’t bad considering how large they were. We soaked the bone marrow in some salted water first to get rid of all the impurities. After 30 mins or so, we rinsed them and seasoned them with salt and pepper, then topped them with lots of chopped garlic (because we are huge garlic lovers..).  We then proceeded to pop them in the charcoal BBQ until the bone marrow was jiggly to the touch as we know that would make a great spreadable consistency.

I must tell you… that bone marrow was so good! When spread on freshly toasted bread, it was the bomb! I tried not to think about how bad that must be for my arteries… but they always say the better it tastes… the worser it is for your health 🙁 …

The T bone steak and prime ribs were done very well too. We used the reverse sear method and finished it off on the flaming grill.

For dessert, I made my apple cinnamon coffee cake but given they did not have a cake pan, I made them into muffins instead. It still turned out pretty well but I think I could have undercooked them a bit more. It was served with fresh vanilla ice cream and espresso 🙂

Overall it was a great dinner. Great food, great company. There was so much food that we had to pack the leftovers up which was great because that means we can have more of it the next day 🙂

I actually ended up making steak and eggs served with bone marrow and toast this morning for breakfast given today was the last day of the long weekend. If only I could eat like this every day… I guess it’s good that I don’t or else I’d be like 500 lbs @_@

Until next time!

Father’s Day Tomahawk Steak Dinner

Father’s day may be over but that doesn’t mean you can’t make your loved ones a delicious Tomahawk steak dinner!

We picked this bad boy up at the Cheese Boutique out in Etobicoke. We originally wanted to go there to pick up some artisanal cheese but was pleasantly surprised when we found out this place was actually a grocery store too! We honestly expected to go in and only see cheese based on the name lol.

This place was like whole foods, but better because things weren’t crazily overpriced but you can tell the quality of their food was good. What really impressed us was while we were shopping, a guy came around and offered us espresso. The first thing that came to mind was “Do we have to pay for this?” but it didn’t seem like it would cost us anything so we just went for it. Nothing makes us feel more special than having espresso while grocery shopping, especially when it comes served to you in a saucer with a little shortbread cookie! How cute 🙂

They even came around with free sorbet after! This place was awesome. We got to sample all the cheeses and cured meats too. Love it.

Anyways, we ended up leaving the store with quite a number of things, the Tomahawk steak being one of them.

We prepared the steak using the reverse sear method that we learned from Serious Eats and it turned out delicious! The key is to generously season the steak with freshly ground pepper and coarse sea salt. It may seem like a lot of salt on the steak but trust us, it’s not! Continue reading

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

If you want to make a side dish to impress your family and friends, this scalloped potatoes recipe is the way to go.

After a really long week at work, nothing takes my mind off the stress than cooking and baking. I feel bad for neglecting my blog for such a long time and I feel like I’m not updating as much as I could. This is partially due to my busy work schedule, and partially due to the fact that when the weekend finally rolls around, I’m so exhausted that all I want to do is relax and do nothing. Not to mention, adulting nowadays consist of hanging out with family and friends so we don’t cook at home as much since we usually go out to eat.

I guess you could argue that we could cook for them but our condo is pretty small and it’s hard to accommodate a lot of people.

Since we were entertaining family this weekend, I was motivated to think of a dinner menu which we don’t normally cook. Instead of having mashed or baked potatoes with our steak, I decided to make scalloped potatoes instead. Besides, we bought all this whole milk as it was on sale last week that it made sense to use it up before it went bad.

To find out how to make this dish, refer to the recipe below:

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Yield: 4

Scalloped Potatoes Recipe

Ingredients

  • 4 russet potatoes, thinly sliced
  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • a pinch of smoked paprika
  • freshly grated nutmeg
  • freshly ground black pepper (season to taste)
  • 1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese
  • few sprigs of fresh thyme (optional)

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  2. In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, melt the butter and stir in the flour to make a roux. Stir for a few minutes unill it thickens and turns as light nutty brown in color.
  3. Add the cold milk, stirring with a whisk to eliminate any lumps.
  4. Season with salt, nutmeg, freshly ground pepper, and smoked paprika.
  5. Cook sauce on low until smooth and boiling, stirring occasionally with a whisk. Once the sauce has thickened, stir in the cheese.
  6. In a lightly greased 13 x 9 rectangular baking tray, layer the thinly sliced potatoes all over the bottom of the baking tray.
  7. Pour a thin layer of the sauce over the potatoes. Then, repeat with a second layer of potatoes and cheese sauce. Continue until you've used up all your potatoes/sauce.You may top the rest of the potatoes with an extra layer of grated cheese if you wish.
  8. Bake uncovered for about 1 hour at 350°F or until the top is golden brown.
  9. Garnish with a few sprigs of fresh thyme and serve immediately.
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Ochazuke recipe

I love Ochazuke… Maybe it’s because I’m always cold regardless of the season but I love how this dish always warms me up. It’s such a simple dish but it tastes so good. This post is part of the #JapanWeek series.

I’ve always wondered how people make this – what goes into the tea or broth? How is it so flavourful?  Is it really just green tea over rice because when I drink green tea by itself, it sure doesn’t taste as good as this.

I took a pretty big risk when I decided to make it for the very first time the night of our anniversary dinner as I have no idea how it would turn out. Surprisingly, it turned out better than expected! We even made some slight modifications to the original recipe to try and enhance the flavour of the ‘soup’. The sour taste of the picked plum along with the salty nori, green tea broth, and rice, was a really nice combination. It’s also a good way to use up leftover Japanese rice!

This was the green tea I used for my Ochazuke:
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Chirashi bowl

Chirashi bowls have become a thing in our household now. Whenever we want to make Japanese food, our default answer is to make Chirashi.

I guess the reason we tend to default to this is because:

a) We’ve found a pretty good sushi rice recipe

b) We can make numerous Chirashi bowls with a single cut of fish.

Although the cut of fish isn’t cheap, if you consider how many portions you can make out of it, it’s pretty worth it as it’s much cheaper than what we’d be paying in the restaurant.

As part of the #JapanWeek series, I decided to ball a little bit since it was for a special occasion. I chose Blue Fin Tuna (please don’t go extinct – you’re one of my favourite fishes for sushi), Uni from British Columbia, and Scallops from Hokkaido, Japan. I learned that the best way to make this bowl even more visually stunning is to include fish with different colors, top it with a generous amount of pickled ginger to cleanse the palette, and finally garnish it with a dollop of fresh wasabi.

If you want to make a simple dish that would impress your friends and family, this is it. It’s really not that hard to make but the presentation is just stunning. I would say the hardest part was slicing the fish evenly ^_^”

 

Nobu’s Miso Black Cod Recipe

I love miso black cod. Everytime I go to a Japanese restaurant, this is the default dish that I order. When it came to me brainstorming what I should make for our anniversary dinner this weekend, this dish immediately came to mind as it’s one that I think we’d both enjoy. Besides, I wanted to learn how to make it so that I don’t have to wait until I go out to a restaurant to have it. This post will be part of an ongoing series called #JapanWeek

While searching for a recipe online, Nobu’s recipe was clearly the most popular one. As always, I cross referenced this recipe with several others to see if there was a significant difference in terms of proportion of ingredients and method of preparation but it was pretty unanimous. All recipes required me to marinate this fish 2-3 days in advance to get the most flavour out of it.

And boy was it worth it. The fish was so flavourful… and after searing it in a hot pan and baking it the oven afterwards, it left this nice golden crust which was soooo goood.

I’d make this more often but the fish itself was pretty pricy –  I paid $20 for 2 pieces of fish… mind you it was a very generous cut of fish but still…

To view the recipe, keep reading

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Agedashi Tofu Recipe

This weekend marks Team J’s 7th anniversary. In order to celebrate, I decided to make a Japanese dinner since J loves all things Japanese. I will be featuring all the dishes that I made on the blog as part of the #JapanWeek series.

I’ve been prepping for this meal all week – looking up various recipes and blogs to get inspired as to what to make. I finally came up with the final menu and I got super excited because I knew he would love the dishes that I will be making. One of the dishes I stumbled across was this Agedashi Tofu recipe and I knew it would be the perfect appetizer dish because it was light and simple.

Agedashi Tofu

I adapted this recipe from JustOneCookbook and slightly altered the sauce recipe from a Japanese cookbook that we owned. Although I’ve never made this dish before, it turned out really well!

For this Agedashi Tofu recipe, see below:

Agedashi Tofu Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 of a medium-firm tofu block
  • 1/3 cup potato starch
    Sauce
  • 1 1/3 cup dashi stock
  • 3 tbsp light soy sauce
  • 2 tbsp mirin
    Toppings
  • Bonito flakes
  • Grated ginger
  • Grated daikon
  • Thinly sliced green onions

Instructions

  1. First, prepare the sauce. Add light soy sauce, mirin, and dashi stock into a stock pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, bring the heat down to low to keep warm until ready to use.
  2. Cut the medium-firm tofu into small blocks and dry them all in a paper towel to remove as much moisture as possible.
  3. Meanwhile, prep the vegetable oil in a small sauce pot or deep fryer until oil is 350F.
  4. Once the oil has reached 350F, lightly dredge the tofu in potato starch and deep fry the tofu until they turn golden brown. When done, remove them from the oil and place them on a wire rack lined with paper towel to remove excess oil.
  5. Place fried tofu into a shallow dish and pour the hot sauce on the side of the bowl (not directly on top of the tofu). Garnish with grated ginger, grated daikon, thinly sliced green onions, and bonito flakes. Serve immediately.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2017/05/20/agedashi-tofu-recipe/

Chinese Wintermelon Soup Recipe

If there’s one thing we missed about living at home, it’s the soup that our parents used to make us. We generally prefer drinking Chinese soup opposed to western soup as it tends to be more light. I don’t think you’ll ever see heavy cream being used in a Chinese soup recipe lol. Surprisingly enough, Chinese soup is pretty easy to make but getting the right ingredients can be tricky.

Before I moved out, I asked my dad to give me his Chinese wintermelon soup recipe. It’s quite common for Chinese people to not follow a recipe and just wing it so he did his best to give me his guestimations when it came to how much of each ingredient to put in. We made this several times now and let’s just say the Chinese dried mushrooms made a huge difference in terms of adding flavour!

Wintermelon Soup

It’s best to let this soup sit overnight to help the flavours really develop. You can still drink this right away and it’ll taste good but it’ll taste even better tomorrow so try to make this a day in advance 🙂

Here’s how we made the soup:

First, gather your ingredients. As you can see, there aren’t that many.

Soup ingredients

There are a few key things to note:

  • Presoak your dried Chinese shiitake mushrooms and dried dates (found in your local chinese supermarket – likely dried soup mix section) in warm water for at least an hour
  • Do NOT throw away the water which it was soaking in. These ingredients released a lot of flavour so do not waste them. Save them for the soup later.
  • Try to have a mixture of pork and chicken bones to make the stock. This will enhance the flavour of the soup

Once you have all those items ready, it’s time to parbroil your chicken and pork bones to get rid of all the impurities. Do this for 5 minutes and then rinse it under cold water. Make sure to give them a good rub to really get rid of all the dirty.

Rinse

After parbroiling the bones, put it back into a large stock pot along with the rest of the ingredients (and the water which the mushrooms and dates were soaking in!) and fill the pot up until all the ingredients are covered. Bring it up to a boil and once boiling, turn it down to a gentle simmer for at least 1 hour.

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Soy glazed chicken thigh recipe

It’s nearing the end of the week and with a bunch of uncooked chicken thighs from Costco that are about to go bad, we decided to look for a recipe where we can just cook them all at once and leave the leftovers for lunch the following day.

We wanted something that would require as little prep work as possible. This recipe was perfect since the only thing you need to worry about is making the marinade. Just dump all the sauces you need into one bowl and you’re good to go!

Glazed Chicken

When you first make this recipe you’ll notice you’ll have a lot of extra marinade leftover. You can boil this to thicken it up as a sauce to further baste the chicken in later as it cooks, or you can poor it over your rice. Serve this alongside some oven roasted broccoli and rice and you have yourself a nice dinner 🙂

See recipe below.

 

Soy glazed chicken thigh recipe

Prep Time: 1 hour

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 30 minutes

Yield: 4

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoons honey
  • 1 heaping tablespoon of brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup sesame oil
  • 1 tsp asian chilli oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 6-8 chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon chopped green onion (optional)

Instructions

  1. Whisk the rice vinegar, honey, brown sugar, soy sauce, sesame oil, chilli oil and minced garlic in a bowl until smooth.
  2. Marinade the chicken thighs using half the marinade. Keep the other half to make a sauce.
  3. Refrigerate for a minimum 1 hour, turning the chicken once or twice.
  4. When you're ready to cook the chicken, preheat the oven to 425F.
  5. While the oven is preheating, boil the leftover marinade in a saucepan for ~5 mins or until thickened. If it's not thickening the way you like, you can add some cornstarch + water mixture to help it thicken up. This will be your glaze/sauce for the chicken.
  6. Arrange the chicken in a 9 x 13 inch pan and brush each chicken thigh with the glaze/sauce you just made and bake for approximately 20 minutes, basting the chicken with more glaze/sauce 10 minutes in. Cook until the chicken thigh reaches an internal temperature of 135F (You can use an instant read thermometer for this).
  7. Once it reaches an internal temperature of 135F, crank the heat on the oven to broil and broil the chicken for 5 minutes to help crisp up the skin. Depending on how hot your oven is, it may not take 5 mins so keep your eyes on it so you don't get burnt chicken!
  8. Once it's all nice and crispy, you can take it out to cool and garnish with some chopped green onions to garnish.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/02/03/soy-glazed-chicken-thigh-recipe/

Apple Pork Chops with Sage

We recently bought a sage plant and we were looking for every excuse we had to use it. Pork chops went on sale recently and lucky for us, sage goes well with pork!

I consulted my Jamie Oliver cookbook as I recall seeing an apple pork chop recipe and decided to make some minor modifications to it. The result was something delicious 🙂

Apple Pork Chops

This Apple Pork Chop recipe, served along side Oven-Roasted Broccoli, will make a great lunch or dinner. The sweetness from the apples coupled with the savoury broccoli makes this dish a winning combo.

To find out how to make this, see below:

Apple Pork Chops with Sage

Ingredients

  • 1 pork chop
  • half an apple, sliced
  • salt and pepper to season
  • 3 sage leaves
  • 1/2 tbsp butter
  • 1 tsp brown sugar

Instructions

  1. Pat the pork chop dry with a paper towel to remove excess moisture. This will help the pork chop sear. Then, season generously with freshly ground salt and pepper
  2. In a cast iron pan over medium high heat, drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and cook each side of the pork chop until it is fully cooked.
  3. With the excess fat from the pork chop in the pan, add in the butter and brown sugar. Stir everything together to make a caramel sauce and add in the sliced apples and sage leaves until they are evenly coated. Once the apples are softened, remove both from the pan and place it on top of the pork chop along with the residual sauce. Serve immediately.
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http://cookingwithteamj.com/2016/01/17/apple-pork-chops/